Long gone are the days when App Stores were the place where a couple of tech geeks would fish for the newest Apps to test. Today, they have become the center of solutions to everyday problems for most of us. Indeed, Apple and Google both know it very well and are trying hard to humanize the app stores as much as possible. Their efforts basically target one main element – the review. The goal is to make the whole experience more social. In short, the reviews now have a higher impact on the App Store algorithm – thus a higher chance of affecting your ranking.
An app review is basically a person’s genuine feel about your app. Unfortunately, people tend to be much more genuine and honest when they’re having a negative experience or do not feel good about something. Even you are probably going to be much more vocal about a Michelin restaurant that treated you badly, rather than praising an average pizzeria around the corner. It is precisely for this reason, that it is becoming very important to develop a good strategy to minimize the appearance of negative reviews and maximize the positive ones.
Read also: The Winning Mobile User Acquisition Strategy
This guide will walk you through some tips and tricks on how to develop a solid approach to gathering more reviews with a positive tone and leverage the maximum out of that negativity! So let’s go for the five stars, shall we?
That app’s a lifesaver! Shall I buy it? Oh wait… but how about that one instead?
Tough choices, huh? We live in an age, where sometimes we have so much choice that we simply need to ask others for their opinion in order to figure out what the best option is! That’s true if we go shopping, if we want an opinion about our new crush, if we wanna go on holidays, and most importantly in the App Stores! Yep, of the first things we do on the stores is to check out what the others are saying. It has become so important, that if we see an app with a low rating, we don’t even bother reading the criticism. What is more important – we probably even won’t find it in the first place!
Why is that? Well, Apple and Google make sure that apps with high amounts of negative reviews never make it up to the top of the ranking. The reverse applies to apps with positive reviews. The more approving comments an app has, the higher the chances of improving its ranking position! Both Apple and Google know that an app’s reputation can be quantified. Ultimately, during the process of downloading, users trust other users just like we trust our friends’ opinion on a new piece of clothes we’re about to buy.
Read also: How to Market Your Mobile App?
To be sure that the quantification, or in other words, the reviews’ impact on the algorithm is as accurate as possible, both Google and Apple have taken several steps in order to ensure that the displayed reviews come from genuine users – preventing thus any attempts of cheating.
To post a valid review in Apple’s App Store, a user will first need to connect his iTunes account. Doing this in Google Play requires even more action – for a review to get posted, it is essential to log into Google+ account and post the review under the user’s full name. This way, Google can make sure that all reviews are coming from genuine accounts. It may seem like a lot of trouble for few simple lines, but in turn, the reviews from active and trustworthy users will have a higher impact on the app store algorithm. Suspicious, inactive or incomplete profiles thus don’t score a chance!
“I don’t care what they say”… said no one in the App Store Business!
And you shouldn’t either! Reviews and Ratings are essentially a gold mine for any developer or marketer! By regularly monitoring what users get to say about your app, you not only get a feel about how users use your app, but you discover, which features work the most and which don’t! In other words, the possibilities for streamlining the marketing and the app performance are endless!
You should also not get scared if you see some negative comments popping up! In the short run, this kind of negativity certainly isn’t something you want to strive for. Bad reviews can harm your app ranking and reputation, however, if you spot them very early on, you can work on implementing the feedback and making the most out of every suggestion. App stores give you a second chance too! With every new release, you basically erase all of the previously accumulated reviews.
Developing the habit of frequently monitoring yours and your competitors’ reviews is thus essential if you strive for a top-notch app. You’re probably thinking – you have better things on your to do list other than to scrolling the endless reviews’ feed of a dozen of apps. Well, that’s reasonable, but today you can actually capture the essence of the review section in just a few minutes. Several tools, such as AppTweak (ASO platform) allow you to filter and organize the reviews based on what you’re looking for. Whether your criteria is capturing bugs, or showcasing your most favorite features, the insights are just one click away. Remember though, reviews and ratings go back to zero with every new app version. It is therefore crucial to plan the distribution of new & major features evenly, not to end up with a different spirit of reviews after every new release.
Read also: Do You Need to Update Your App?
When fishing…. don’t scare the fish!
When fishing for reviews, don’t scare the users either! Even though you may be intrigued by prompting your users to leave a review by direct messages in the app, it is important to take a step back and use this strategy wisely. You do not want to scare them away with excess notifications and make them uninstall your app.
The rule of thumb suggests you should wait for about the 5th or 10th time that the user opens your app before asking him to write a review. That’s probably about the time when he’s gotten familiar with how your app works. Chances are, if he likes it, he may want to share his experience.
Now how do you get him to do that? Well, fortunately there is already a nice number of tools that allow you to interact with your users seamlessly in within your app’s interface – without disturbing them too much. Appsfire, Apptentive and Appboy are all great SDK tools to capture the users’ attention, customize your communications and ultimately collect meaningful feedback.
For more of an in-app customer service solutions, UserVoice and Instabug are great preventative measures for getting rid of those bugs, weak spots, and making the most out of the suggestions of your users. Of course, there are many other possibilities online with the one sole focus – listening to yours users. Ultimately, listening is all the reviews are about!
As you can see, the Reviews & Ratings are not to be underestimated! If you have done that up until now, we encourage you to take a look at what the vibe about your app is. Maybe you’ll be very pleased, maybe you’ll discover what your new marketing strategy should be and perhaps you’ll find out there is still some product development to do… Whatever your case is, remember, a rigorous review analysis is just one of the steps for a first-class ASO.
About the author
Laurie is Inbound Marketing Manager at AppTweak. Passionate about new technologies and apps, she loves finding new ideas to spread valuable content on App Store Optimization and App Marketing. She’s in charge of the company’s blog, crafting articles helping users to increase their app downloads and rankings. She’s also at the head of the ASO University, teaching App Store Optimization basics through video tutorials, all available for free on the AppTweak blog.